The Cleveland Browns were able to hire Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine as their head coach, and it’s definitely a solid hire, especially for a team with as damaged of a front office reputation as the Browns. However, the Browns biggest problems lie on the offensive side of the ball, since they need a franchise quarterback and a feature back behind him. That exacerbates their need to hire a very strong offensive coordinator, but there aren’t many of those guys on the open market. The Browns have shown interest in former Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak, but he’s very much a “reach” candidate and is fully expected to turn them down. Green Bay Packers former RBs coach Alex Van Pelt was rumored to be a candidate for the Browns OC gig, but he decided to stay in Green Bay as the team’s QBs coach.
This all pretty much leaves the Browns at square one in their OC search, and it makes Pettine’s job tougher. However, the Browns could find their offensive coordinator if the Dallas Cowboys decide to fire Bill Callahan, as it was reported earlier this week that Callahan could be replaced by former Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who would be an upgrade. Callahan has been criticized heavily for his play-calling, and he isn’t looked on favorably by most Cowboys fans. He has experience, though, and he could be a nice hire for the Browns if all else fails. Plus, there’s always a chance that his issues in Dallas were exaggerated, especially since the team’s biggest problems were on defense. That said, his inability to commit to the running game was concerning and led him to the hot seat.
The NFL Network’s Albert Breer reports that if the Cowboys do replace Callahan with Linehan, then the Browns could go after Callahan as their next offensive coordinator. At this point in time, this is the only coach who has been linked to the Browns, so it’s definitely worth keeping a close eye on.
As for Callahan, he wouldn’t be the first coach to receive a vote of confidence from Jerry Jones, only to realize that it was really just a kiss of death. After it looked like he would be safe for months now, Callahan is right on the chopping block, which is where he was nearly two months ago before escaping. We’re going to keep him and allow him to call plays again? Doesn’t seem to be the case anymore, but the Callahan-will-be-replaced-by-Linehan talk is still technically just rumor at this point.